The NFL season is almost here, and you need to have an updated fantasy football rankings and an accurate list of fantasy football sleepers. NFL trade rumors are still swirling but, we feel we have determined an accurate listing of this season’s fantasy football stars. In our latest rankings, there has been a bit of a shake up, but most names are where you would expect. We have scoured the news wires and training camps while creating accurate 2011 NFL predictions and have determined which quarterbacks are poised to lead you to a fantasy football championship.
Not all of us are in position to draft Vick or Rodgers, but now you can figure out who is worth reaching on and who isn’t.
1. (1) Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are doing their best to win now and have continued to add weapons around Vick. The team has a slew of talented running backs that can catch the ball and added some extra talent at receiver with Steve Smith.
There will always be injury concerns with a guy that will take as many hits as Vick, but his massive upside is too much to overlook.
2. (2) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers and the Pack are poised for another run at the Super Bowl and should be even stronger at the receiver position.
Like Vick, Rodgers also comes with some injury concern. Last year, a concussion knocked him out of a game and a half. It’s the risk you take drafting a quarterback that likes to run, but the added stats are also why Rodgers is listed so highly.
Is it worth the risk? Yes, but it is just that: a risk.
3. (5) Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Last season, Rivers led the NFL in passing yards and had the second-highest quarterback rating in the league. He did all of it without a No. 1 receiver and with Antonio Gates missing time with injury.
Rivers broke 30 passing touchdowns for only the second time in his career, and we like his chances to do it again. He has the upside to be the best quarterback in fantasy and could come closer to 5,000 yards passing than 4,000.
4. (4) Tom Brady, New England Patriots
The league’s highest-rated quarterback should have another solid season.
Brady is good for just about 30 touchdowns and around 3,900 passing yards. Those numbers are elite, and it means Brady should always be in the top five fantasy passers.
His upside is what makes him so much more dangerous. The addition of Chad Ochocinco will give Brady another very capable receiving threat, even if Spanish 85 is getting into the twilight of his career.
There is no shortage of targets for Brady, and he should have yet another strong season.
5. (3) Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Brees is a very capable quarterback, and in recent rankings we had lauded him for his offseason conditioning and the fire he has displayed so far through training camp.
Here is what were concerned about: age and Injury.
Brees himself is only 32 and has had very few substantial injuries in his career.
The moving parts around him can’t say the same, however. The Saints recently cut ties with longtime starting LT Jon Stinchcomb and will rely on Jermon Bushrod to replace him. The Saints are higher on last year’s second-round pick Charles Brown as the longterm replacement, but he is recovering from offseason surgery for a herniated disc.
Throw in lingering knee issues for Brees’s top receiving target, Marques Colston, and there are more than enough question marks.
6. (6) Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
We don’t expect Peyton to miss any time in the regular season—it's just not something Peyton Manning does.
We are starting to get concerned about Peyton’s neck, however, and whether all this time away from practice is going to throw off Peyton’s timing.
Manning is a consummate professional and has been doing it for years, so once he gets back in to the swing of things, he should be fine.
Is Peyton worth picking in the top five if he is going to take a bit to catch up, however?
We don’t think so.
7. (7) Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
We don’t like to get too caught up in preseason football games, but Romo has looked just so-so in actual games this offseason, and that is a bit concerning.
All the talk is that Romo has been “on fire” in Dallas's camps and that he may be up for his best year as a pro.
The Cowboys do have some serious playmakers at receiver and two running backs that have great catching ability and speed.
Romo is almost always a top-nine quarterback, and this season that trend will continue.
8. (10) Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
There is no doubt the Falcons are going to throw the ball more this season. They mortgaged their future to win now by trading up for explosive rookie Julio Jones.
The Falcons have always been a power-running offense but will certainly be shifting their focus from the regressing Michael Turner to follow the lead of the Packers and Saints and focus on their franchise quarterback and an aerial attack.
9. (8) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are no doubt moving towards a more pass-focused offense, and Roethlisberger owners will benefit from the added attempts.
Roethlisberger is a guaranteed top-10 passer, but the Steelers will never ask him to put up numbers close to those of Philip Rivers or Aaron Rodgers.
His value as a runner isn’t great, but it’s there, and he has potential for monster games, with deep threats like Mike Wallace on the team.
Despite the added passing, though, this is still Pittsburgh, and the running game will still play a large role and diminish Roethlisberger’s value.
10. (9) Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Freeman is a star in the making and had a very strong fantasy sophomore year. We're not sure that Freeman will be able to continue a four-to-one touchdown-to-interception rate, but he certainly could come close to 30 touchdowns this season.
The receiving corps is young and talented, and they also have very good receiving tight ends on the team.
The offensive line is shaky, though, so Freeman will have to prove he can have another mistake-free season under duress for us to become true believers.
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